Long Overdue

Santa Fe County Commission agrees to enter negotiations with city officials over remaining annexation items

Santa Fe county and city officials may soon be coming together to hammer out lingering issues surrounding annexed territory, including drainage improvements to West Alameda Street and emergency response services in several areas.

It’s been more than a decade in the making.

The county and the city of Santa Fe entered a legal agreement in 2008 that laid out how officials would incorporate 10,000 acres into the city’s jurisdiction, and since then, it’s been a tedious process.

There’s now a possible end in sight: The County Commission on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution appointing Commissioners Anna Hansen and Hank Hughes to negotiate various annexation details with city councilors.

Before that happens, the City Council must vote on a similar measure, which is expected in January, Hansen tells SFR. Councilors Signe Lindell and Jamie Cassutt are likely to sponsor the resolution and act as representatives of the city in negotiations, according to the resolution county commissioners approved.

Lindell and Cassutt both refused to comment.

Negotiations would aim to develop non-binding proposals for the County Commission and City Council’s consideration. County and city representatives would be required to report the results of their negotiations by April 13, 2022.

Longstanding items outlined in the resolution include but aren’t limited to drainage on West Alameda Street, fire and emergency medical services to areas north of Airport Road and annexation of the remainder of Area 1, which lies north of Alameda and adjacent to the Agua Fría Traditional Historic Community (view a map here).

“They’re all issues that we as a city and a county need to be working on together because if we’re going to take care of our constituents, these are the things that need to be addressed,” Hansen tells SFR.

The outlined issues were identified over four years ago, at a joint meeting in June 2017. Also discussed at that meeting was an open space on South Meadows Road—which could soon be the site of residential units and a community park from affordable housing developer Homewise—that county officials offered the city.

The County Commission in November 2017 called for another joint meeting, which took place in May 2018, where the open space was again offered to the city as a part of annexation, county officials claim, although Mayor Alan Webber has said he doesn’t recall receiving such an offer.

Asked why she thinks annexation discussions have stalled in recent years, Hansen says: “The mayor was new to office and…I’m not going to comment on what I think. I’m happy that we’re doing something now.”

At the Tuesday meeting, Agua Fría Village Association President William Mee thanked the commissioners for passing the resolution.

“This resolution will greatly help the citizens that have been left in limbo,” Mee said, adding that he’s heard from residents in contested areas who have had trouble accessing city services such as police officers, who he says refuse to respond to calls in areas they believe are in the county’s jurisdiction. “I think this resolution can help alleviate some of that.”

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